Los Angeles: Santa Monica

My last minute, three day escape to the City of Angels left me little time to do much prep work. Despite it being a short flight away, I hadn’t been to LA in years, so I had racked up quite a list of places I wanted to see. Also, I was very excited to see palm trees (who isn’t!).

We stayed in Santa Monica, which was a beautiful location, especially for a short trip. With all the other things going on in my life at the time, I really just left the itinerary up in the air and played everything by ear.

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LAX to Santa Monica by bus:

Once I got out of the airport, I stopped by the information booth to check on options of getting from LAX to Santa Monica. Having some time to spare, I opted for public transportation, which I think is a great way to get to know a city. I was given a slip of paper with instructions – it was surprisingly simple and quick, with the bus stopping by Venice before ending the loop at Santa Monica and heading back over to the airport.

  1. Find the Blue LAX Shuttle sign and take the LAX PARKING LOT C Shuttle, a free service.
  2. Hop off on the first stop and walk over to the LAX City Bus Transit Centre – if you are lucky there will be a group of people also headed that way and you can follow them. The transit centre should be very easy to spot, across the street.
  3. Wait by the bay (Bay 12 for the rapid bus) for the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus #3. The ride costs $1.25 and the exact amount is preferred since they do not give change. My bus driver was extremely friendly and helpful, even giving us a little guide of the areas we passed.

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Being in a central location at the Wyndham Santa Monica, there was a lot to do, eat and see. The Santa Monica Place and Third Street Promenade (see: shopping) was just a few blocks away, with it’s enticing outdoor location, street performances, shops and restaurants. Of course, one of the big attractions is also Pacific Pier. The weather wasn’t as hot as I expected it to be but the pier is crowded from day to night. Just at the brink of summer, the beach was not too crowded and I was surprised to find the water very warm.

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The end of the Pier also marks the end of Route 66, with a sign marking the official end of the famous trail. It’s a vibrant, dynamic location, with lots to do and lots to see, even after sundown.

To Stay:

The Wyndham Santa Monica – With a prime location right across the street from the pier AND Santa Monica Place, the hotel was at the centre of everything happening. Even being by a busy street, I had no noise complaints whatsoever. The staff were extremely friendly, helpful and patient as well!

To Eat:

Bruxie – If you want to try some chicken waffle sandwich, there is a little shop on the Third Street Promenade dedicated to waffle sandwiches. For me, it was a one time thing to try out. It wasn’t blow-your-mind spectacular, but the portions were very large so it left you full.

Cheesecake Factory – I never pass up the chance for some cheesecake here.

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